Prescription drug addiction is one of the fastest growing problems in the United States but would you be surprised to learn that prescription drug misuse and abuse is beginning to increase in young people here in the UK also?
A Huge Misconception
One of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to prescription drug use is that it’s actually safer than other recreational drugs. What many aren’t aware of however, is the fact that there are many long and short term health consequences through prescription drug use when misused. What’s more, they differ from one drug to the next.
Different Side Effects For Different Prescription Drugs
- Stimulants – side effects from stimulant prescription drugs are similar to that of cocaine and can result in paranoia, high body temperatures and heart trouble. These side effects can be exacerbated if taken in high doses or taken intravenously.
- Opioids – much like heroin, these can cause drowsiness, constipation and even slower breathing rates.
- Depressants – misuse of depressants can result in slurred speech, shallow breathing, disorientation and even seizures – these side effects can also come into play upon withdrawal.
Add in the fact that prescription drugs are being missed by those with developing bodies and brains and the long term effects are hugely worrying. Our brains are continually developing until we reach our mid to late twenties.
During adolescents, what’s known as the prefrontal cortex develops further, setting priorities, formulating strategies and even allocation attention and controlling impulses (or at least trying its best to). The outer mantle of the brain also goes through what’s referred to as ‘bursts of development’, allowing us to become more mature, more sophisticated as processing and fully understanding rules, social norms and laws.
Drug use, and that includes prescription drug use, interrupts the brain’s ability to do this, almost fracturing the developing neural pathways. It’s also worth noting that the pathways being formed during adolescents are usually the ones that stick. If this includes addiction then it could very well lead to life-long addiction problems, not just the side effects of the drugs a young person is taking.
Education Is Important
There are too many misconceptions when it comes to prescription drugs. From teenagers believing prescription drugs can be used as study aids to parents of children with ADHD believing additional medication will help them academically. Parents and children need additional education surrounding these and other common misconceptions, as well as the impact of misuse on the brain.
Many are also stating that doctors and pharmacies need better procedures in place to monitor misuse and prevent it from happening in the first place. Doctors may be more readily handing out prescription drugs than they did, perhaps a decade ago. Why is this? How can this be restrained once more?
Contact Us Today
Prevention is always better than cure and educating adults and adolescents on the impact of prescription drug misuse and its effect on the brain will be one of the best combat methods. If you’d like more information on prescription drug misuse or more information on how we can help here at Infinity Addiction Solutions, please contact us today on 0800 3345541.